My First Anniversary of Coming Out as Nonbinary

I realized this week that the anniversary of me coming out as nonbinary to my family, friends, and followers passed on April 20th, and I thought I should have done something or written something up to commemorate it. Truth is though, I don’t have much to say about my personal experiences. Being out as my true gender identity is great, and I’m so, so glad that I came out when I did. I have to thank the other out non-cis people in my life for giving me the inspiration to take that step one year ago. Going back and looking the receipts, I’d been slowly identifying as nonbinary more and more publicly for YEARS — it’s almost wild to think about now. Anyway…I don’t wake up ever day and think “what a wonderful day to be nonbinary”! Being nonbinary doesn’t determine what I select for breakfast and has little influence on how I decide to style my outfit and hair that day. So, there’s little to report for the Nonbinary Status of Madalyn. (And even if there were, y’all know I am closed book of the “spell-sealed ancient tome” tier.) Instead, let me share some observations on the State of Nonbinaryfolk in A Binary America.

I’ve met and worked alongside more non-cis people who use gender neutral pronouns in the last twelve months than ever before in my life. We nonbinaryfolk really be out here, just doing our thing, but getting really excited when we run into each other. #RepresentationMatters has always been a deep truth to me, regardless to whatever gender, sexual, racial, or ability identity it is being applied to. It’s not just about having [insert member of marginalized minority group] role models who have ‘made it’ in a patriarchal capitalist society that wasn’t designed for people like us — it’s about seeing people like yourself just doing their thing in everyday life, in unapologetic, beautiful, and humble ways, and not being harassed for it! I love to see it!

So how are cishets handling our emergence? I just completed a week-long professional campaign training where every single participant was encouraged to always introduce themselves with their gender pronouns. It was a real model for how every social and professional space should be, whether virtually or in-person. I did encounter obligatory misgendering and hyper-binary thinking, and I can’t say it didn’t wound, but I am also appreciative that it was a rare occasion of me entering into a space where I didn’t have to do the work of advocating for simple standards like these in order to welcome trans and nonbinary people. Keep normalizing this type of environment. It’s easy, and it makes such a difference. These subtle things contribute to reshaping our environment over time into something a lot better for us all.

I could dive into how the legislative war on trans and nonbinary people — particularly vulnerable trans kids — is fiercer than ever, but I don’t have the emotional energy to go there today. Plus, I already wrote that paper for a public policy final assignment. Since I’m not a legislator, just an enby kid who wants to spread kindness, I’m focused on everyday interactions and how I can continue to make environments safer and more inclusive. Hopefully this is something that you take into consideration every single day as well.

they/them. Black, queer, and nonbinary creative, policy wonk, and organizer.

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